Better, Smarter Integration

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Sherry Calkins, Vice President, Connected Vehicles, Geotab. PHOTO Geotab

Geotab partners with GM to provide Canadian fleet customers with simpler, more effective telematics.

For many fleets, managing and sifting through data generated by telematics can be challenging and time-consuming.

Additionally, being able to dial down and utilize that data to make more informed decisions while ensuring that it remains secure are primary concerns.

Recently, connected transportation solutions provider Geotab announced that its Geotab Integrated Solution is now available for General Motors vehicles in Canada.

For fleets, this represents a very significant development in enabling fleet managers to simplify operational processes and make faster, more informed decisions, as well as measuring key metrics such as vehicle and driver safety, unit efficiency and activity as well as fuel and maintenance costs.

To find out more about this new solution and just what it represents for fleets here in Canada, Autosphere sat down with Sherry Calkins, Vice President, Connected Vehicles at Geotab.


Autosphere: Based on your observations, when it comes to telematics, what are some of the key things fleet managers are looking for in today’s environment? 

Sherry Calkins: Fleets are looking for first and foremost, a secure platform that protects their company and employees’ privacy and can safeguard their data.

A very close second to that is customization and depth of offerings—the OEMs are moving to embedded factory-fit built-in modems that will eliminate the need for aftermarket devices.

The solutions available today vary between OEMs and will for some time.

With Geotab however, there is the opportunity to have all your data, from Geotab’s aftermarket GO Devices to General Motors embedded modems or any number of the other OEM hardware providers that the company works with.

This means all of the data is secure and protected in one platform with full customization to fit the needs of each fleet customer.


AS: What does this integrated solution represent for fleet managers in Canada?  

SC: This new, integrated solution will allow fleet managers that have General Motors vehicles in their fleet or plan to buy new GM vehicles, the ability to utilize the OnStar hardware to power the connectivity to the vehicle.

For existing clients, they can simply activate the modem remotely, with no need for hardware installation at an up-fitter or once they receive the vehicle.

The data is displayed within their current platform, just as they are used to experiencing it.


AS: Can you tell us a little about how it works in terms of data integration and how fleet managers can access the information?  

SC: To begin, the end client must first agree to Terms & Conditions with OnStar to consent with GM to activate the modem.

From there, the client can place an order to remotely activate the OnStar solution and within a few minutes of driving, the data will start to populate within the MyGeotab platform.

This enables GM data integration from the vehicle to our cloud environment.

From there, clients can request APIs to use or share the data outside of the platform, customize rules and notifications and set up their own groups and reporting.


AS: In terms of usability what does the “single platform” enable and how can fleet managers use that data and apply it to real-world scenarios and yardsticks to measure actual fleet performance?  

A single platform allows fleets to have one source of truth and for the data to be normalized across all OEMs.

We have our own GO device you can use, but in addition to General Motors, we partner with several OEMs to access the built-in modems and provide telematics data for the customer to our platform.

This allows for one single API call, and it allows for streamlined and turnkey reporting when you add these vehicles to the platform.

What this means for existing customers, is that they can take advantage of their dashboards and reports that are already set up.

They can simply add the GM OnStar data from their vehicles to the same dashboards, reports, rules, and notifications, offering a mix of hardware solutions across aftermarket and OEM built-in solutions.

Fleets can also monitor driver behaviour to increase safety; they can set alerts to monitor vehicle health and be proactive with maintenance to reduce vehicle downtime.

Another key feature is the ability to view your fleet in one pane of glass, understanding where you might have idle vehicles not being used and where you need to add additional assets or create new routes based on the needs of the business.

Having detailed information to the asset and connection to remote workers is key for an efficient, safe and effective workforce.


AS: How can users of the platform really leverage its capabilities such as utilizing additional software features and apps as well as hardware elements? 

SC: This is really where engineering expertise is required.

At Geotab for example, we invest heavily into R&D, returning over 20% of our revenue to R&D efforts, whether you are using our GO device or one of the OEM embedded partnerships we offer.

With this setup, you only need ONE platform with Geotab to connect to other applications, our Drive application, and over 200 solutions available on our Marketplace to expand the solution.

It also allows customers to integrate with other software and enable other software inside their user interface with a just a single sign-on solution.


AS: Going forward, how do you see solutions like this further helping fleet managers as they look to manage costs, safety, productivity, and fleet efficiency? 

SC: One of the key benefits in managing cost is not having additional downtime of the vehicle to perform aftermarket installations and the costs associated with purchasing hardware.

There is an abundance of data on how telematics and actively monitoring this data can provide tremendous value in cost savings, driver and community safety, efficiency, and increased productivity.

By having insight into how and where your drivers are going can provide the ability to re-route drivers for fewer miles travelled or allow you to add one additional job per day.

This enables your telematics to truly pay for itself with high and continued ROI.

Whether it’s from safety improvements to uptime of the assets and really having a handle on what costs you might be ignoring, it shows you how to get more value from your fleet and remote workforce.


AS: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

SC: As we look to the future, OEMs must recognize the deep rich data that is needed within the fleet, mobility and transportation industry.

It is a very different proposition from what consumers need and want to monitor.

As we move toward electrification, fleets will need effective telematics solutions and connected vehicles to operate efficiently.


Categories : Editorial, Fleet
Tags : Geotab, GM, Telematics


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